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We Saw Systemic Failures In Nigeria's 2019 Elections -EU Observers

*It's not enough for you to discuss anomalies our elections, Keyamo fires back at observers



The European Union Election Observation Mission (EU EOM) in Nigeria has said Nigeria's presidential, governorship, federal and state parliamentary elections were characterized by systemic failures. 

It also said the EU observers knew nothing about the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC)'s server that was allegedly used to transmit results of the 2019 general elections.

Briefing journalists in Abuja on the EU EOM’s report, the Deputy Chief Observer for the EU, Hannah Roberts, said the Mission relied on results that were released by INEC.

Roberts, while fielding questions,  noted that the EU Mission in Nigeria was unaware of an INEC server by which results were transmitted during the election.

“The EU had to rely on INEC’s explanation in result transmission,” she said. 

The main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), had claimed that an INEC server was used to transmit results of the election.

Maria Arena, the EU Chief Observer, had earlier presented a final report with recommendations for electoral reforms.

She said the EU EOM had 91 observers on the ground for the presidential and federal parliamentary elections across Nigeria.

Arena added that 73 observers were deployed for the governorship and state parliamentary elections while only 20 observers were used for the supplementary elections.

Following its observation mission, she said the EU EOM had 30 recommendations on how to improve future electoral processes in Nigeria.

“The mission concluded that the systemic failings seen in the elections, and the relatively low levels of voter participation, show the need for fundamental electoral reform.

”The EU report prioritized seven recommendations of the 30, one of which was that Nigeria to Strengthen INEC procedures for the collation of results to improve integrity and confidence in electoral outcomes.

Another recommendation was that electoral tribunals cover pre-election cases in order to improve access to remedy and to avoid petitions being taken to different courts at the same time.

However, Festus Keyamo,  spokesman for the All Progressives Congress (APC) Presidential Campaign Council, who addressed journalists afterward, faulted the EU EOM for not coming to a conclusion in its report.

He said: “The result reflects the overall wishes of Nigerians, that was the report by so many observers, if you are an observer you should come to a definitive conclusion; don’t be dodgy about it; don’t run away from that fact because we have 120,000 polling units across the country and in all their reports I don’t think they discussed at most 500 polling units.

“If you observed certain anomalies, it could not have been more than 500 or 1,000 polling units and if you do observe anomalies in those polling units, how does that substantially affect results coming from 120,000 polling unit?

“So it is not enough for you to discuss the anomalies, they must discuss the overall results coming from the entire country and whether it did reflect the wishes of the people. This is what we want to know because they have problems in the US elections, there are problems in the EU and even UK elections.

“For Christ sake, we need a detailed analysis to come to a definitive conclusion about the overall result of the election.”